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Low vaccination rates in Texas, experts express concern on new COVID-19 strains

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 19:22:24-04

While a large number of Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19 it looks like we will fall short of the July 4 deadline set by the Biden administration, with the goal of 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by next Sunday.

There is definitely a trend we are seeing in Texas.

56 percent of eligible Texans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as a result the rates are much lower in Central Texas.

“13.6 million have had one vaccine and 11.5 million have had both vaccines," said Dr. Amy Mersiovsky, Department of Nursing director at Texas A&M University Central Texas. "So even the state if Texas can push harder but here in bell county we really need to push harder.”

Mclennan and Bell counties are both under 45 percent of people with at least one dose but that is mostly older adults and senior citizens.

”Many of our younger adult population feels like, maybe this virus hasn’t affected them as much or would affect them as much if they were to get sick.” said Dr. Tresa McNeal, hospitalist physician at Baylor Scott & White in Temple.

Current infection rates and trends show that is simply not true.

”Right now what is being seen across the country is, the biggest herd of people getting sick with COVID are the younger people and, they’re getting sicker and sicker.” said Dr. Mersiovsky.

Protecting themselves form from a possibly severe COVID infection is not the only reason more young people need to get their vaccine.

”Young people can be carriers of the virus to other individuals in their families and their community even though they might not have symptoms.” said Dr. McNeal.

With vaccination rates low in Texas, medical professionals say Texans need pick up the pace or risk going back to how it was over the winter.

”We Texan’s like to brag," said Dr. Mersiovsky. "Brag about how great we are and one way we can back that bragging up is to get our vaccines and get our numbers down.”

Some doctors also fear that new strains of the COVID-19 could take hold in Texas if we don’t see more people getting vaccinated.